AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche are among the first 10 biopharma companies that will collaborate with academia and NHS Genomic Medicine Centres on the 100,000 Genomes Project, which aims to map 100,000 genomes from patients with rare diseases or cancer by 2017. 

The companies* have formed the GENE Consortium (Genomics Network for Enterprises Consortium), which will oversee work on a year-long industry trial aiming to identify the most effective and secure way of bringing industry expertise into the Project “in order to realise the potential benefits for patients”, providing a platform for future work.

Under the collaboration, industry partners will each contribute seed funding and scientists to work on the project, who will have access to information from 5,000 whole genomes collected from the first stage of the Project “in full compliance with data protection laws,” AZ noted.

Ultimately, it is hoped that the unique partnership will transform treatment for patients with rare diseases and cancer, with faster access to the right treatment and personalised care.

Genomics England said it will also work with companies specialising in data analysis, to ensure that cutting edge advances in handling Big Data are included in the Project.

With nearly 3,000 genomes sequenced, Genomics England has also announced that more than 28 teams or ‘domains’ will be set up for clinical and research experts to work as part of the Clinical Interpretation Partnership (GeCIP), focusing on a vast range of disease areas as well as analytical and social sciences.

* Members of the GENE Consortium are: AbbVie, Alexion, AstraZeneca, Biogen, Dimension Therapeutics, GSK, Helomics, Roche, Takeda and UCB